More than nine months after a devastating hit left him concussed, Sidney Crosby is still not sure whether he was targeted intentionally.
In an interview with CBC’s Hockey Night In Canada, the Pittsburgh Penguins captain revealed he hasn’t had many interactions with former Washington Capitals forward David Steckel, who levelled Crosby during the 2011 Winter Classic which left him to fight for a return to the NHL.
Steckel is adamant he did not intend on injuring the superstar. The newly acquired Toronto Maple Leafs centre expressed remorse while speaking to reporters on Wednesday, and wished Crosby a speedy recovery.
"I feel bad that he’s not back playing and by no means was [the hit] on purpose," Steckel said. "I didn’t see him, and after that game, I told one of their players I knew, Deryk Engelland, ‘Tell him I didn’t see him and I’m sorry’. That’s the only contact I’ve had [with Crosby]."
Said Crosby: "I don’t talk to [Steckel]. I mean it’s kind of up for debate right? It’s one of those things that he said it was unintentional and you know when I look at it, I can’t be sure.
"I’m not going to sit here and look at it and say he meant to do it because he’s openly said he didn’t, but that being said who knows, and that’s really not the time to talk about it now. It’s [been] eight months since it happened and for me my focus is on getting back now [after] what happened."
The 24-year-old Crosby, who hails from Cole Harbour, N.S., hasn’t suited up for a game since Jan. 5 but is inching closer to a return to action. He skated with teammates Wednesday and is anxiously anticipating the moment he steps on to the ice again.
"I constantly think about it, that’s really the motivation to get back and to have that feeling of playing and being part of a team," he said. "Obviously when you’re injured you don’t have that day-to-day routine with everyone and I think I really miss that, and just competing and that’s something that’s constantly on my mind."
The Penguins face off with Steckel and the Leafs on Oct. 29 at Air Canada Centre on Hockey Night In Canada.